Vacation 2 USA
Travel & Tourism
Attractions & Resorts
Busch Gardens Africa
Empire State Building
Golden Gate Bridge
Kennedy Space Center
Statue of Liberty
Walt Disney World
More US Attractions
Northern Mariana Islands
Native American people are believed to have inhabited Florida for many thousands of years before the arrival of Europeans. These include the Ais, Apalachee, Calusa, Timucua and Tocobago tribes.
The first recorded European visit was by the Spaniard, Juan Ponce de Leon who named Florida in honor of Pascua Florida ("festival of flowers" - Easter) when he discovered the land on April 2nd, 1513. During the next 250 years, competing Spanish, French and later English settlements were established in Florida and there were frequent conflicts, particularly between the English and Spanish.
Britain eventually gained control of the whole of Florida in 1763 as a result of the Peace of Paris. However, Spain regained the area in 1783 in the Treaty of Paris, following Britain's defeat in the American Revolution. Finally, Spain ceded Florida to the United States of America in 1819 in exchange for an American renounciation of any claims on Texas. Florida was eventually admitted as the 27th state of the Union on 3 March 1845.
Florida was a slave state. During the American Civil War (1861 to 1865), Florida was a founding member of the Confederate States of America, and fought with the South.
Until the mid 20th century, Florida was the least populous of the southern states, however following the introduction of air conditioning, and improved transportation links, there has been considerable migration from other states, particularly the Northeast. Today Florida is the 2nd most populous southern state (after Texas), and over all the 4th most populous in the United States. The state is a popular vacation destination, and is also home to the Kennedy Space Center, the NASA space launch facility that has been used for the Mercury, Gemini, Apollo and Space Shuttle programs.
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